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This website only lists information on modern-day comets and meteor showers. The book, however, thoroughly investigates how specific ancient impacts and near misses changed religious beliefs around the world.

Comet Lemmon

Comet Lemmon

Discovery of Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6)

Comet Lemmon

Comet Lemmon (C/2012 L6)

Credit: Martin Mobberley

After the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter, The Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) was created in 1998 to identify Near Earth Objects (NEOs). In the years to come CSS expanded to include the Siding Springs Survey (SSS) and the Mt. Lemmon Survey (MLSS).


The Mt. Lemmon Survey includes a 60" Cassegrain reflector telescope in the Steward Observatory belonging to the University of Arizona. The observatory is located on Mount Lemmon in Arizona 1.74 miles (2.8 km) above sea level. This telescope has discovered more Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) than any telescope on Earth.

On March 23, 2012, images captured in by Mt. Lemmon Survey were analyzed by A. R. Gibbs. Gibbs identified a comet with an apparent magnitude of 20.7. It was named Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6).








Comet Lemmon Visibility

Unlike Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) and Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) was not be visible to the naked eye in 2013. You needed bincoculars or a small telescope, if you wished to spot Comet Lemmon.



Comet Lemmon Orbital Path

On January 19th, 2013 Comet Lemmon traveled west through the constellation Crux, the Southern Cross, and had an apparent magnitude of 11.6.


On February 3rd, Comet Lemmon reached the constellation Octans. It was roughly 10.2 in apparent magnitude, at this, its most southern position in the sky.


After it traveled through Octans, the comet sank increasingly to the north and west night after night (see movie to left) and nears Comet PANSTARRS. For a chosen few on this spinning blue planet, Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) and Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) were visible in the night sky together in mid-February of 2013. The two comets will only be separated by a couple constellations. Comet Lemmon traveled through Phoenix (March 7) and Sculptor (March 17) on its way to perihelion (March 24).


C/2012 F6 was then obscured by the Sun for several days, unless you happen to have access to a coronagraph telescope like SOHO. On March 30th, the comet rose above the eastern horizon and separated from the Sun.


On April 19th, Comet Lemmon traveled north across the celestial equator. Around late April, Comet Lemmon was visible to astronomers in the northern hemisphere only a few degrees above the western horizon before dawn.


Comet Lemmon's Orbital Path


(on left) Comet Lemmon's orbit (C/2012 F6 ) if solar system was viewd flat along the ecliptic

(on right) Comet Lemmon's orbit (C/2012 F6 ) if solar system was viewed from above

Credit: Osamu Ajiki (AstroArts) modified by Ron Baalke (JPL)



Comet Lemmon Orbital Period

Comet LEMMON (C/2012 F6) observed in Chicago from 4/29/13-6/6/13. Click on icon in lower right corner to enter full screen mode. Credit: Adapted from Stellarium

Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) has an orbital inclination of 82.6° and an orbital period of roughly 11,000 years.